A tourism tax (tasa turística) only applies in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
Please click on the right hand banner to find out rates and further information.
VAT: 21% (reduced to 10% for hotels and restaurants)
European Commission VAT rates in member states
Access and Mobility
Madrid Central has a low emission zone (Zona de Bajas Emisiones)
- Tour coaches are exempt until 2023. Access will then only be allowed for coaches which meet at least B yellow sticker standard (Euro 4/5) of Distintivo Ambiental. From 2025 at least C sticker (Euro 6) will be required.
- Minibuses are exempt until 2020. Access will then only be allowed for minibuses which meet at least B yellow sticker standard (Euro 4/5) of Distintivo Ambiental. From 2022 at least C sticker (Euro 6) will be required.
- National rail services are managed by Renfe (group tickets)
- International rail planner
- Scheduled national and international bus companies
- including ALSA (largest), Agreda, Andorinha, Bus Almeria Madrid BAM, Comes, Conda, Daibus-Interbus, Damas, Dainco, Garcia, Hife, iDBUS, La Serrana, Linebus, La Union, Lycar, OUIBUS and Therpasa.
These attractions are selected due to high demand and/or operational issues. If you think we should include others, please contact email@example.com.
Attractions located in Barcelona can be found here.
There are rumours that the Spanish Minister of Culture, José Guirao, is considering to prohibit reselling of tickets to attractions without adding extra value, e.g. package the ticket with something else. We are following this case closely as a prohibition may have a considerable impact on capacity management, distribution and ticketing of major attractions in Spain.
Information about Alhambra and tickets can be found here. Group tickets can only be booked by an agent authorised by the Patronato de la Alhambra. When obtaining a licence, tickets can be booked here.
ETOA Update, June 2019: We are aware that it is still very difficult to obtain tickets for Alhambra. Due to local elections, the structure within the Patronato is changing. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the online booking system of the Alhambra was breached end of May 2019, affecting 4.5 million users and about 1000 travel agencies. We are seeking more information.
In Spain, guiding (Guía turístico) is a partly regulated profession (regulated by regions – Comunidades Autonomas), where some autonomous regions, such as the Basque country, have not regulated the profession, others like Asturias or Andalusia have regulated it, and Madrid has deregulated it.
Museums and Patrimonio Nacional (Royal palaces, castles and some museums) are not part of the regional guiding regulations, and guides need to have a licence to be able to guide in these places.
Despite regions not having regulated guiding or have deregulated guiding, operators are frequently reporting verbal attacks on international guides/tour directors from local guides. If you are experiencing such issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please click on the right hand banner to read more about guiding regulations in Europe and the ETOA tour guide ID card.
Public holidays and opening hours
Spain has approximately eight national holidays (Fiestas Nacionales) annually as well as several regional and local holidays. The dates and numbers of public holidays are announced by the government for the following year in October.
Official announcements can be found here.
Normal business hours in Spain are from 08:30/09:00 to around 14:00. The Siesta will typically run until around 16:30/17:00, where business will re-open and continue until around 20:00.
Events and seasonality
There are several events taking place every year throughout Spain. The below is not an exhaustive list.
- Euro 2020 football tournament will partly be hosted by Bilbao at the Estadio San Mamés (15/06/20 – 28/06/20).
- La Tomatina is a yearly festival taking place in the town of Bunol close to Valencia. The main aspect of the festival is a tomato war, where the 20,000 participants throw tomatoes at each other. In 2019, the date of the festival is 28/08/2019. Around these dates, Bunol and the surrounding areas are expected to be busier than usual. It is possible to buy group tickets.
- The Holy Week (Semana Santa) is held during Easter in most towns and cities. Celebrations are especially famous in Seville and Malaga.
- Carnival takes place in February throughout Spanish towns. The carnival in Tenerife lasts the entire month of February.
- The Fallas of Valencia takes place in March and has been declared an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Throughout the week, statues and figures take up space in the streets and squares.
Our local Spain Country Representatives Jorge Traver and Joanne Cadier as well as Market Manager Leyre Raimundo are focusing on developing the local membership base as well as our relationship with local authorities, attractions and other stakeholders.
Within the last few years, Sagrada Familia and the Alhambra are subject to increasing visitor pressure and operational difficulties; we are in dialogue with both. In Seville, we ran a cultural tourism seminar in September 2018, followed by HEM, our hotel workshop in February 2019.